Friday, December 12, 2014

Democrats Bought By Special Interest Money, and They Say It's All Republicans...

Rational Nation USA 
Purveyor of Truth

We'll start with the thing that will catch your attention, as is the way: Democrats who voted for the giant spending bill on Thursday night received, on average, twice the campaign contributions from the finance/insurance/real estate industry as their colleagues who voted against it.

Yes folks, it's true. Money talks, regardless of party affiliation. And so we continue witnessing the purchase of influence by the wealthy and powerful.

Does this register? Does it tell us anything? Should it tell us anything? Or do we simply go along to get along and be thankful things are as they are? It seems worth questioning what we view as our biggest national domestic problems.

READ THE FULL WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE.

Via: Memeoandum

UPDATE:

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon made calls to lawmakers on Thursday urging them to support the “cromnibus” spending bill...

Dimon's involvement came amid progressive outrage that the House cromnibus included a provision that they said would weaken Wall Street regulations.


FULL STORY HERE.

54 comments:

  1. A recent Princeton-Northwester study notes that-
    "Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism." IMO. those economic terms co-define oligarchy. With an assist from SCOTUS 'Citizens United" ruling, we
    may see the logical next step from oligarchy to neo-feudalism. Is it me, or is this process an ugly caricature of what the US should be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you BB Idaho for supplying us the informative link.

      This does not surprise as intuitively many probably thought this true. Observation and experience supports this data.

      Delete
  2. Big business and big government have had an incestuous relationship since the days of Clay and Lincoln and, so, no, this is hardly a surprise (Obama, for example, took more money from Fannie and Freddie than any Senator other than Dodd and it only took him 4 years).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rather than viewing this as what any individual President may or may not have done I view it as a systemic failure inherent in our present (and past) systems of governance.

      Delete
    2. It wasn't inherent until the Whigs took over and foisted upon America their cronyism, statism, and protectionism.

      Delete
    3. The pertinent consideration in all practically is it now is. IMO anyway.

      Delete
  3. I'm sort of attached to my pension, so noting the congressional budget act is going after them at the behest of corporations (who have record high profits) is unsettling...at best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we should move away from the idea of past employers controlling pensions altogether. But turn all the money over to the employees ASAP instead of stealing it.

      BB, wouldn't you feel safer if all this money was entirely in your control instead?

      Delete
    2. Under the mattress? A pension is basically a fixed annuity, of which I also have. If BigB
      can take one, it can take the other, no?

      Delete
    3. I believe that would be correct BB Idaho.

      Delete
  4. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2008/sep/19/john-mccain/their-employees-have-donated/

    Here's the truth about what Will just wrote.

    JMJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jersey.

      I like live links because I do so much from my smart phone when I'm on the go. Which has become often.

      On another note. I told you you weren't banned. Really, you shouldn't represent that you were on the "FreeThinke" blog or elsewhere. I, unlike "FreeThinke" have only banned one blogger here who shall remain un-named on these pages.

      Delete
    2. I prefer live links too, but sometimes I am too lazy to make them. It must be said, also, that not everyone knows how to make them. Some systems, like email nowadays, automatically turn valid URLs into live links. Blogger/Blogspot won't; it's in the stone age in this and other ways.

      As for Jersey's questionable claim, Les, perhaps it is that the atmosphere of that Stinkhole blog might rub off on people!

      Anyway, Les, back to Jerseys link. Do you think there is really any need in this republic to have Fannie and Freddie? Or are they really just government agencies that is one of the prime vehicles for corporate welfare to the housing industry... where the problems and waste outweigh any possible benefit.

      Delete
    3. That rated it as "Mostly True" and cited that Obama had gotten even more money from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

      Delete
    4. Les, I just posted a whole bunch of times and nothing was coming up. I'm sorry, I just figured wrong.

      dmarks, you don't understand Freddie and Fannie. The housing crashes of 87 and 2007 had very little to do with Freddie and Fannie, especially in any sense whereby somehow they were corrupted. And there's no "welfare" going on there. You just really do not understand what you're talking about. I don't know from where you educate yourself, but please do some reading on the subject. You will very soon see that most of what you are reading or hearing is just completely nonsensical misdirection. Freddie and Fannie are not bogeymen, dmarks.

      JMJ

      Delete
    5. Well Jersey you are posting now, all is well. ;-)

      Time for a beer!

      Delete
    6. I understand Freddie and Fannie fully well, Jersey. They had a lot to do with the banking collapse of 2007/2008. They are purely corporate welfare: government agencies that provide resources to banks to back up their loans (and encourage banks to engage in risky practices) that banks would NOT do otherwise if they did not have this welfare... this welfare provided by Freddie and Fannie.

      I have done plenty of reading on the subject.

      This is just one source. It even goes into detail the terrible government policy which directed Fannie and Freddie to encourage.... (force?) banks to make bad loans they had no business making.

      They are "bogeymen", Jersey, and they serve no good purpose at all. I certainly think "bogeyman" is putting it lightly for government agencies that were one of the main causes for the financial collapse of 2007/2008... government agencies which serve no good purpose...government agencies which squander taxpayer money on wealthy corporations... government agencies in which the bosses make tens of millions of dollars as a reward for doing something badly that doesn't need doing.

      We certainly don't need government agencies providing welfare to wealthy banks, and we don't need very destructive government policy to encourage banks to make bad loans.

      Les, Will. This is a perfect example of how some on the Left will defend entirely unnecessary, corrupt, and dangerouscorporate welfare in a rather knee-jerk fashion. Thus helping ensure that the problem will never be solved.

      And yes, we had a similar discussion about the terrible mistake, and unnecessary corporate welfare, of giving tens of billions in taxpayer dollars as an outright gift to troubled auto companies that would have gone through conventional bankruptcy regardless: with the jobs saved, and with $0 government money spent.

      We need to start somewhere, and stopping government gives to corporations is a great place to start

      Delete
    7. Two guys aside, the vast majority of the collapsing mortgages were purely private sector products that had little or nothing to do with F&F. F&F only took a 5% loss from the crash. Their share of the second tier market was as low as 6% by 2006. Did they take up some of the bad paper? Yes. Did they originate it? No. Nor did the banks, by the way. It was your heroes on Wall Street who did that.

      JMJ

      Delete
    8. A claim of a mere 6% share in this is misleading:

      "Fannie and Freddie bought 25.2% of the record $272.81 billion in subprime MBS [mortgage-backed securities] sold in the first half of 2006, according to Inside Mortgage Finance Publications, a Bethesda, MD-based publisher that covers the home loan industry."

      - “Gambling with Other People’s Money”, Russ Roberts of George Mason University

      ----------

      According to some estimates, the financial collapse cost $22 million (from the Huffington Post)

      Even if we accept the loweball, underestimation of Fannie and Freddie's ownership in this debacle at a mere 6, that's still $1.3 trillion. Why is anyone defending them?

      "It was your heroes on Wall Street who did that. " said Jersey...

      Well, Jersey, have you been reading these comments? And others? You can't find anyone claiming Wall Street was heroes in this either.

      Delete
    9. From Investopedia, which is more concerned about presenting an accurate view of the market for investors than it is in presenting partisan and false CYA "gotcha" and FUD:

      "One thing was clear: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were given a government-sponsored monopoly on a large part of the U.S. secondary mortgage market. It is this monopoly, combined with the government's implicit guarantee to keep these firms afloat, that would later contribute to the mortgage market's collapse."

      The "government sponsored" guarantee to keep these firms afloat, is, of course what I am accurately describing as "corporate welfare". And the intervention of Fannie and Freddie (a regulatory, and market-tampering intrusion) contributing significantly to the collapse was not one of "deregulation", but was of the opposite.

      And one thing is overwhelmingly clear: Fannie and Freddie, even if they were not the number one cause of the economic collapse. had a major and very negative role in it. They did a LOT of bad, and did no good..

      At this point, the subject is probably being belabored. My point being that Fannie and Freddie are a huge part of the money corruption problem. (Will and others make a reasonable case that other causes were even worse, while they don't go as far as to deny the major bad role of F&F).

      A huge role to anyone who thinks that trillions matter, anyway.

      Delete
    10. "From Investopedia, which is more concerned about presenting an accurate view of the market for investors than it is in presenting partisan and false CYA "gotcha" and FUD:"

      LOL!

      JMJ

      Delete
    11. Thank you the laughter, Jersey. It is the season for merriment :)

      Delete
    12. "My point being that Fannie and Freddie are a huge part of the money corruption problem."

      And your point is not true. They are a very small part, and "corruption" in any institutional sense, is not at play.

      JMJ

      Delete
    13. Weanill agree to disagree, Jersey. I have presented information to back up my assertions as true, and our numbers differ. You've presented yours, good enough. I'm fine to put this horse in the stable alive and well before either of us beats it to death.

      Delete
    14. Correction.. "We will...".

      I hate auto correct

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    15. The myth of F&F's involvement in the collapse, dmarks, is part of how the GOP establishment was able to demand gutting Dodd-Frank so the derivative trading can get back to wrecking the economy again, and on your dime again. This is exactly the sort of diversion that allows all sorts of foul play right before your eyes,

      JMJ

      Delete
    16. The biggest bailout of all was Fannie and Freddie at a cost of over $150 billion. To say that these a-wipes were but a small part of the problem is insane (though, yes, the much bigger villain was the FED with its easy money policy, artificially low interest rates, and bailout culture).

      Delete
    17. Will: Exactly. If you look at the numbers and the facts, and avoid the partisan bias which Jersey injected into his most recent comment, Fannie and Freddie had a huge role in causing the collapse.

      Speaking of "bailout culture", the "Dodd-Frank" bill Jersey defend is a very bad example of corruption and deserves to be gutted. It enshrines the bailout culture you mention, Will. It guarantees handouts to some banks. It's another corporate welfare bill.

      There is no "myth" of F&F's involvement with the collapse. There's history, and F&F came out quite red-handed. Derivative trading, again, Jersey, would have done very little damage without the Federal government making a huge mistake by choosing to fund it. Banks and institutions limited to playing with their own money have little reason to engage in such shenanigans. But banks and institutions which are encouraged and funded by ill-intended government largesse will get up to all kinds of deviltry.

      Delete
  5. It's been going on for a while. We can even look toward the end of the Bush administration. Most Republicans opposed the massive taxpayer gift to banksters (including federal funding of multi-billion dollar bonuses for Goldman Sachs top brass) that was TARP. Most Dems favored it. I wonder if this was around the time when the problem of "Big business and big government [having] an incestuous relationship" became more of a Democratic moral failing than a Republican one.

    It surely is a moral failing of the Dems now. Will and I know well that every time we comment about abolishing crony capitalism and corporate welfare and such handouts, we tend to get blasted from the hard Left, who now sing the praises of this incest, more than we hear from Republicans/conservatives who defend it.

    Backing up a little bit here, in light of RN's most recent "Rather than...." comment.. I would say that the Dems fully embracing this "incestuous relationship" alongside the Republicans (any difference between the two on this being a matter of degree, rather than any fundamental difference) is indeed a systemic, systemwide, and bipartisan failure.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Big Business and Big Gov have been playing footie for some time. Ayn Rand spoke to this often.

    Like so many other institutions FM & FM ran amuck. It is likely in hindsight we would have been better off without them.

    Corruption runs rampant in DC and it's reach is not limited to one party. Although the highly partisan would disagree.

    It is time for a 3'rd party. Not that in the long run much would change. All the political/government ills would simply find a new home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It is time for a 3'rd party. Not that in the long run much would change. All the political/government ills would simply find a new home."

      This happened with Perot's Reform Party.

      Delete
  7. Not really as Perot never was elected and the "party" dissolved. No doubt it would have in time had it become a political force.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just meaning that it got corrupted with Pat Buchanan turning into the US version of what the UK now has in "UKIP"

      Delete
    2. Pat Buchanan was a Perot supporter and a reform Party member? I thought he was a republican candidate.

      At this [point in time it is certainly a mute point.

      Delete
    3. Not sure if he was a Perot supporter! I think the "Reform Party" had moved past Perot when Buchanan ran on its ticket.

      Delete
  8. The "government sponsored" guarantee to keep these firms afloat, is, of course what I am accurately describing as "corporate welfare".

    I admit to not being all that versed in Fannie and Freddie and their ins and outs but certainly they don't qualify as a corporation and therefore could not be involved in corporate welfare.

    I am not convinced given the circumstances keeping them solvent was a bad thing. Either we need more or less government regulation in these maters. I just am at a loss as to which would e preferable.

    It seems with America's growing oligarchy and a slide into neo feudalism less may not be the answer. The real question is how to identify candidates of integrity and cultivate their growth in how to best serve the rational self interests of the nation as well as each individual.

    Perhaps it is not possible?... But be sure to ask "FreeThinke."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...certainly they don't qualify as a corporation and therefore could not be involved in corporate welfare."

      I was referring to them being agencies that gave out corporate welfare. Surely other parts of government that give handouts to corporations aren't disqualified from being involved in "corporate welfare" by being agencies not corporations?

      Delete
    2. So, F&F not being corporations gave out "corporate welfare" by virtue of accepting corporate money to finance risky loans?

      Is that a case for MORE or less ethical regulation? Damn, it just keeps getting more simple doesn't it?

      Delete
    3. RN: You are missing a big part: the agencies F&F backing up, supporting, buying, financing the loans of private bank corporations

      Delete
  9. Partisans have a tendency to focus a spotlight on private bugbears, and retrospective discussions often present an incomplete picture. Let’s recall events:

    The speculative bubble may have started in the housing industry but engulfed the entire worldwide financial system. Cowboy operators wrote junk mortgages. All mortgages were bundled into investment portfolios called “derivatives,” and the bad apples within each portfolio made the entire barrel rotten. To make these derivatives attractive to investors, bundlers purchased “credit default swaps” (a form of investment insurance) to give these portfolios triple A ratings (issued by Moody’s and Standard & Poors). Thus, every link in the chain had defects – every derivative, every brokerage house and major bank that sold derivatives, every insurance company (such as AIG) that sold credit default swaps, and every credit rating agency. To point fingers of blame at Fannie and Freddie alone is to miss the entire picture.

    Please recall: The first company to declare insolvency was Bear Stearns followed by Lehman. Soon Merrill Lynch, Countrywide, and every “too-big-to-fail” bank (such as Citi, BofA, Chase, MH, Wells Fargo, as examples) faced a liquidity crisis that dried up credit markets. No credit liquidity meant all commerce and all economic activity would come to a halt. Then Secretary of the Treasury, Hank Paulson (panic-stricken), wrote a two-page memo requesting a “no-strings attached” bailout of the entire financial system, which later became known as TARP. Point of fact: Fannie and Freddie - although insolvent - represented merely a ”drop in the bucket.” The devastation was pervasive, systemic and worldwide – estimated to be excess of $50 trillion. Please note: Hank Paulson was a former CEO of Goldman Sachs and a Bush appointee.

    Now, before everyone goes into a partisan tizzy, consider: To borrow from this analogy, “violence begets violence,” it can also be said that chicanery and corruption begets more chicanery and corruption as competitive stakeholders, each jealous of the other, stakes a claim. Politics and cronyism go hand in hand. In the end, it doesn’t matter who started what first. Sooner or later, like the financial meltdown, the political corruption is pervasive and systemic and rotten to the core.

    Third party, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Given that the GOP isn't far enough right for many, that the Dems aren't far enough left and that the few centrists are marginalized, I would expect an political splintering to be right, left, and numerous
    special interest groupings. So, I'm curious: of what would a third party consist?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Who would have thought centrists who by definition merge the perceived best from the right and best from the left would become a marginalized "special interest".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a Centrist Party and a brief reading suggests the problems they face, given issues like abortion,
      gun control, immigration, etc where partisans simply will not compromise. If I suggest that
      centrism is in any way a 'special interest', that is not my view. Whether the logical positions
      of the center gain popularity, it seems only exhaustion and/or desperation, not common sense, will be the driver.

      Delete
    2. Whether the logical positions
      of the center gain popularity, it seems only exhaustion and/or desperation, not common sense, will be the driver.


      You are probably right BB Idaho. While I believe, as Ayn Rand held, that good compromising with evil results in the good acquiring the traits of evil it is also true not everyone sees all things in the same light. Thus the need for compromise to maintain a civil society.

      I don't see the Tea Party Republicans compromising at all.

      Delete
    3. Government cannot operate without compromise. Therefore, if your goal is to prove that the government does not work, the simplest way is not to compromise.

      Delete
    4. Jerry said: " Therefore, if your goal is to prove that the government does not work, the simplest way is not to compromise."

      The bad government policies which led to the financial collapse all happened before the onslaught of the Tea Party. There was plenty of compromise and cooperation in pushing everything off a cliff.

      Delete
    5. Not that I am big on over regulating dmarks but the answer rests in putting proper effective regulations on all banking, mortgage, and the market etc. so future chicanery by anyone is not possible.

      What we are headed for is more of the same BS that caused the collapse in 2008. But, burying our collective heads in the perverbial sand is the way America and the biz/gov connection seems to roll.

      Delete
    6. "...the answer rests in putting proper effective regulations on all banking, mortgage, and the market etc. so future chicanery by anyone is not possible."

      I agree but many people consider that over regulation. Let the banks that screw up, fail they say. But then, have you ever tried to collect your money from a failed bank without government intervention?

      Delete
  12. Forget the Tea Party! In the coming age of climate change, your future is with the SEA Party!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are members of the SEA party called secretions?

      Delete
  13. This caught my attention today:

    Americans Are Sick to Death of Both Parties -- Why Our Politics Is in Worse Shape Than We Thought

    The way many pundits tell it, the Democratic debacle in the 2014 midterm elections sounds like a perfect storm of bad breaks. The President was aloof. The party’s message was weak and muddled, in some races focused almost entirely on gender issues. Meanwhile record or near-record breaking waves of political money (for off year elections) cascaded through the political system while voter turnout plunged to levels last seen in 1942.

    The real story is much uglier: 2014 was fundamentally a democratic debacle. It likely heralds a new stage in the disintegration of the American political order.

    Though Republicans jubilate now, the trend is probably as threatening to them as it is to the Democrats. The reason is stark: Increasing numbers of average Americans can no longer stomach voting for parties that only pretend to represent their interests.


    The rest of the article here.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for the preview and the link (O)CT(O)PUS to a very interesting article.

    I certainly understand the frustratiion of the American electorate; sometimes I feel as though the political system plays both ends against the middle.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good article. Sound, and without partisan bias.

    ReplyDelete

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